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Snow kayaking

By Johnie Gall

Spend enough time on this website and you’ll stumble upon a video of a man assaulting an Oru kayak with a hammer before unceremoniously tossing the boat off a roof. The first time I watched it, I actually gasped and pressed my hand to my chest like a damsel in some old-timey Western.

Then I realized that’s essentially the care with which I’ve treated my own kayak over the past six months.

Preparing to kayak in the snow

My boat is one of my most prized possessions, but you wouldn’t surmise that watching me handle it. I toss it haphazardly into my car, shimmy it across rock beds, trip and drop it, and occasionally ram it into canyon walls when my eyes are busy squinting into a camera. It’s been been trampled by my dog’s toenails and given the good ol’ airline luggage treatment. I was once rag dolled by an unexpected ocean wave and wrung out against lava rock, and my kayak came along for the ride. 

Kayaking technique

The number-one question I get asked while setting up my Oru is, “How durable is it?” I’m never quite sure how to answer the question, so my friends came up with a solution: Test it out. Five people. One boat. One snow-covered mountain and one very questionable idea.

Kayak sledding

We were actually inspired by history: The first known kayaks were built in the snow, crafted from sturdy wooden frames and covered in sealskin by the Inuit people, who invented their boats for arctic hunting expeditions in the Bering Strait region.

Kayak toboggan

Oru kayaks are not made from animal hides. They have hulls made from custom polypropylene with a 10-year UV treatment, rated for 20,000 folds. If you’ve got an adventure in mind, chances are your Oru kayak is up to the challenge. Maybe just leave the hammers at home—the better you treat your boat, the more of your ideas it’ll stand up to.

Kayak racing

Kayak sledding Oru

Tandem kayak sledding

Dragging a kayak